New crime chief elected as voters stay away

15/11/12  A smiling  Julia Mulligan  Conservative the new Police  Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire  at the Royal York Hotel in York  yesterday(fri).
15/11/12 A smiling Julia Mulligan Conservative the new Police Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire at the Royal York Hotel in York yesterday(fri).

Conservative candidate Julia Mulligan has been elected as the inaugural Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire.

However, with just over one in eight people in the Scarborough area casting a vote, her victory has been largely overshadowed by the low turnout and apparent high levels of voter apathy, with approximately five per cent of votes cast locally spoiled.

In total, 13.26 per cent of eligible voters cast their vote in Scarborough and District on Thursday, a number that was slightly below the national average.

And although Conservative grass root campaigners said they were pleased with the result, a Labour councillor has branded the elections a ‘waste of tax payer millions’.

Scarborough Borough Councillor John Ritchie said: “The low turnout reflects the lack of appetite that voters in this town have for this almost hair-brained scheme.

“Millions of pounds of tax payers money has been wasted on this, and (the low turnout) is democracy in action.”

In Scarborough, the Conservative candidate picked up 6,190 votes, beating Labour nominee Ruth Potter, who received 4,580 votes.

The result was echoed in the overall region wide vote, with the new commissioner being awarded 54.03 per cent of the popular vote.

Conservative supporter Janet Macdonald was one of the Conservative supporters at the count.

She admitted that the low turnout was “disappointing”, and added that more money and time would have been beneficial in helping make people aware of the importance of the election.

Her comments follow complaints by residents throughout the borough that there had been no door-to-door canvassing from the two candidates in the lead up to the vote.

Many hadn’t even received literature through their door, and Filey Town Council has announced that they plan on making a complaint.

However, on the suitability of Mrs Mulligan, a former local councillor and school governor, supporters called her a “strong character” who will help to organise North Yorkshire Police.

She will start her now role on November 22, and one of her first roles will be to appoint a new permanent chief constable.

The new PCCs, who are replacing police authorities, will set spending plans and have the power to hire and fire chief constables.

Mrs Mulligan said: “I intend to work really hard to make sure I represent people fairly across all parts of North Yorkshire and without political prejudice.”